(The Hosting News) – Thousands of user’s cell phone data is being accessed by a secret program ran by the U.S. Justice Department, in which they are using fake communications towers from airplanes to gather information from both criminals and non-criminals.
According to a report from Reuters, the U.S. Marshals Service program, which began in 2007, uses Cessna jets from five major metropolitan airports to access data.
The aircrafts use devices, also known as “dirtboxes,” to collect information by imitating cell phone towers, in which cell phones then reveal their registration data.
The Department would neither confirm nor deny the secret program due to “such discussion would allow criminal suspects or foreign powers to determine U.S. surveillance abilities, but that department agencies comply with federal law,” says Reuters.
Sources familiar with the matter noted that the program “let’s go” of cell phones that are not of suspect to the Department, adding that data such as location and identifying information can be accessed.